The Most Illegal Pets People Actually Have

Not everyone is fluent in the English language. For example, do you know what the word “domesticate” actually means? Since so many people apparently have a hard time determining the difference between tame and wild, we thought we’d give you a short crash course. Domesticated animals can be kept as pets or brought up in a farm-like environment. Most often humans have taken these once-wild animals and bred away their most aggressive instincts over time.

For example, wolves are essentially just wild dogs! Millennia ago, some of these wolves developed a genetic predisposition that allowed them to notice how sticking by humans meant more food. Over time, we obtained man’s best friend. All modern day dog breeds came from the wolves of old.

Would you want a wolf for a pet? Hopefully not. Here are a few more completely illegal — and insane — pets that people actually keep at home.

  1. Bats. Although they might seem cute (upon a closer look) they can still do some damage or spread disease. Wild bats are a protected species, which means not only can you not own one in your own home, but you also can’t kill them. Same deal with rattlesnakes.

  2. Lions and tigers. Believe it or not, they’re only illegal in most states. Lions can be tamed, but accidents will always occur because at heart they are still wild animals. They aren’t man’s best friend for a reason.

  3. Skunks. If you’re not too afraid of the potential for stink, then you may have also noticed how adorable these little critters actually are. That’s obviously the reason some people try to obtain them. It’s possible to remove their stink glands surgically. Even if you find a veterinarian who will do it, you still probably can’t legally own a skunk in most U.S. municipalities.

  4. Alligators. Yes, that’s right: some people have gone off the deep end and actually want to own an alligator. While these creatures are perfect pets when they’re small, they all grow up eventually. That said, news stories about some idiot keeping one in his bathtub pop up all the time. Darwin usually takes care of that problem sooner or later.

  5. Hedgehogs. All right, we’ll admit hedgehogs are darned cute. But they’re still dangerous, especially to other household animals who love to harass them — like dogs who never seem to learn how to avoid spiky things. Ownership is forbidden in many places, but you can still get your hands on them in certain parts of the country. On top of that, there’s a lot of debate about whether or not they make good pets. We’ll leave it up to you to make that decision — but we recommend keeping wild animals where they belong (in the wild).